First of all, this is not about Gantz and Bibi. They are both moderates, neither leftists nor rightists. Israeli voters rightfully rewarded them with 25 mandates each.
Israeli leftists are not socialist anymore
Israeli leftists around 1950 were not like Western liberals at all. They were pro-Soviet.
But these days are long past. Today’s Meretz will have no difficulty finding a common language with Bernie Sanders. Being neither a Meretz nor a Bernie Sanders voter, I’ll just leave it at that.
What is Israel’s Right trying to achieve?
Comparing Israeli rightists with Western conservatives is more interesting, because they are genuinely different.
The greatest difference is in what they are trying to achieve. Here is an example copied from TOI comments:
“Israel’s liberation of Judea and Samaria”
Let’s go ahead and compare. Did the Americans, British and Canadians liberate West Germany in the spring of 1945? Were they conquerors or were they liberators?
Did the neo-conservative G. W. Bush liberate Iraq in 2003 as some people say, or did he destroy Iraq as some other people say?
When the Soviet regime was defeated in Ukraine, Belarus and Western Russia in July-August of 1941, was it liberation? Were the local non-Jewish people happy and grateful for getting rid of Communists?
Bush and the neocons
George Bush said “mission accomplished” when Iraqi forces were defeated, Saddam Hussein was arrested, and his statues were pulled down. In fact that was the easy part, the real war was only beginning.
ISIS realized early on that they had a chance to seize power by first provoking an ethnic bloodbath between Sunnis and Shias and then later emerging as protectors of Sunnis.
They put backpacks full of explosives on the backs of two mentally ill women who were begging for food at an open air market in Baghdad, where Shias used to shop. Then the backpacks were detonated by remote control. Almost a hundred Shia shoppers were killed.
The Shias tried at first not to give in to revenge, but after many such incidents it became impossible and there appeared Shia death squads. Dead bodies floating down the Euphrates river became a regular sight.
Daesh was defeated only recently, and it took massive amounts of guided munitions dropped from US bombers to get rid of it. Drones were by far not enough.
But in the end, in May 2018 Iraq had its first peaceful free elections. So the mission was accomplished, 15 years and many thousands of deaths later.
Here are some economic news about Iraq: “Iraq today produces nearly 5% of the world’s oil. Since 2010, Iraq’s oil production has nearly doubled. Iraq has surpassed Iran to become the fourth largest oil producer in the world, an amazing improvement from 12th place a decade ago.”
So yes, Iraq was liberated. George Bush and the neocons achieved what they wanted, and Iraqis are now finally at peace.
Do the Germans feel they have been liberated in 1945, or do they feel they were defeated?
This is a quote from a German newspaper:
“During a joint session of parliament’s two houses attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck, Lammert paid tribute to both Western Allied forces and the Soviet Army “who ended the National Socialist terror regime at unimaginable loss” to their own ranks.
Lammert said May 8, when Nazi Germany capitulated, marked a “day of liberation” for Germans, quoting a watershed 1985 speech by then president Richard von Weizsaecker.
“Today we remember the millions of victims of an unprecedented annihilation campaign against other nations and peoples, against Slavs, against the Jews of Europe,” he said.
Lammert, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said the willingness of European nations to reconcile with Germany after the war was “historically unique”.
The session ended with a brass band performing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, the anthem of the European Union.”
Did the people of Ostland feel liberated from the Communists in 1941?
(Ostland was the part of Eastern Europe where there is now Belarus and some other countries)
Indeed, some non-Jewish people went out into the streets with flowers to greet the German liberators!
But their hopes for a better life under the Third Reich did not realise. The Germans did not come to build a better life for East Europeans. They came for something they needed themselves: the natural resources, cheap labor, and land for settlement.
The saying in occupied Eastern Europe was: “They did not come to rule, they came to steal!”
The peaceful atmosphere for non-Jewish would be collaborators did not last long. The resistance began first on small scale and later became massive, with successful attacks and heavy reprisals. But the reprisals only stiffened the will of local people to resist.
At the end, when the Wehrmacht had to retreat in the winter of 1944, soldiers passed through the streets of towns and villages with flamethrowers setting fire to everything that could burn. By that time the local people left in the snow without food or shelter knew these were not their liberators.
Are Judea and Samaria liberated?
Saying that Judea, Samaria and Gaza were liberated in 1967 characterizes the Israeli hard right. Moderate Israelis would not use such language. Obviously, the intention here is that it is the LAND of Judea, Samaria and Gaza that was liberated, not the people.
Israeli hard right does not care about Palestinian Arabs and does not want to liberate them. From their point of view it would have been better if they were not there at all.
There is a caveat to this though: many right wing Israelis support the idea of industrial zones where Palestinians would work for Israeli employers. After having done their daily work, they would go back to their villages (the word cities is not usually used) and stay there out of sight.
For the Israeli hard right, the idea of an Israeli and a Palestinian Arab treating each other as equals is unacceptable. “Good, peaceful Arabs” are those who stay quiet, work, and do not demand any rights.
What does it all mean for the prospects of peace?
Since peace is not possible without mutual respect, and the Israeli Right does not respect Palestinian Arabs, it is clear that Israel has to choose between its Hard Right and the possibility of peace.
Any peaceful outcome would result in some Jews living in places where most people are Arab and some Arabs living in places where most people are Jewish. But this is only possible when their interaction is friendly. With the level of hostility that exists today this is impossible.
The hostility is such that civilian police would not be able to contain it. This is why it is the army that maintains the current order.
I have no idea what the American peace plan proposes to do about this. After achieving peace in Iraq Americans would know how to deal with the problem if they were in control. But they aren’t.
This post is not about Israeli politics. It is an attempt of analysis of what is happening between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
The result of the analysis is this: even though Israeli hard right is not large, its ambitions are just as incompatible with peace as the territorial ambitions of the Axis were incompatible with peace in Europe.
So the conclusion is this: either Israel finds a way to get rid of both its own hard right and of Hamas rockets, or else instead of peace there will eventually be a big war down the road.